“Actuarial value” is an estimate of the overall financial protection provided by a health plan. While actuarial value is a concept widely used by the insurance industry, it is not familiar to most consumers. This brief explains the concept of actuarial value and how the 2010 health reform law makes actuarial value to standardize the financial protection offered by health plans starting in 2014. In 2014, for the first time, consumers will have a single measure (actuarial value) that allows them to compare the overall financial protection offered by plans.